Senator Seeks More Port Security Funding
Feinstein of California calls current funding level for Long Beach Los Angeles simply inadequate.?
WASHINGTON, DC - US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is calling the current level of funding for California's seaports "simply inadequate," claiming that there is a "one-in-two chance that a 'dirty bomb' smuggled into the US in an ocean cargo container could easily pass through a [California] port."
In a recent letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge criticizing the amount of money allocated to securing the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Feinstein urged the allocation of additional port security dollars.
A port security plan unveiled by Ridge late last month earmarked a combined $9 million for both ports from the next round of federal port security funding. Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the California's deep-water ports have received a total of more than $16 million from Washington for added security.
"Given the demonstrated terrorist threat to and the vulnerability of California ports, this amount is simply inadequate," she wrote.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle about 35% of the country's total ocean-borne container traffic. Long Beach alone moves an average of 4.5 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) last year.
In May, Ridge said that he would distribute $75 million to 360 US seaports from a $700 million anti-terrorist fund set aside for urban areas and "critical infrastructure." The? $9 million cut for the two ports was the largest allocation in the country, reportedly second only to the money set aside for the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey.
William Ellis, director of security at the Port of Long Beach, concurs with Feinstein, recently telling the Los Angeles Daily News that the funding for seaports across the country "pales in comparison" to airport security funding.
Washington forked-over $4.3 million and 1.5 million to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, respectively, last year, far short of the combined $70 million requested.
Container volumes at the two San Pedro Bay ports are expected to?double by the year 2020, according to sources, a probable scenario that has heightened security concerns.
Added to the mix is'the recent report'that the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners has voted to approve a Letter of Intent that provides a subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Corp. with the exclusive right to build and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on a 27-acre site at the Port of Long Beach.
The terminal, which will be built on Terminal Island, would be the first such facility on the US West Coast.
'the subsidiary - Sound Energy Solutions (SES) - says the proposed facility would have a throughput of 700 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, the equivalent of 5 million metric tons or 68.3 million barrels of LNG per year.
The terminal would have two LNG receiving tanks, each with an anticipated capacity of 160,000 cubic meters, an offloading berth and regasification unit. The facility will also provide an LNG fuel terminal for distribution of LNG for use in the conversion of diesel-powered vehicles to cleaner burning fuels.
The imported natural gas would be stored for a brief time at the terminal and distributed mainly in Southern California. The estimated cost for the construction is $350 to 400 million.
The approval of the Letter of Intent gives Sound Energy Solutions (SES) the go-ahead to seek approval from the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. The agency will conduct an environmental impact study on the project, a process expected to take about two years.
Construction, which is expected to take about two years, would begin if FERC approves and issues a permit. The port would be responsible for demolishing structures and construction of a new wharf. SES would build the terminal, including two 160,000-cubic-meter storage tanks, the re-gasification facilities, and delivery and unloading equipment.
SES would operate under a 40-year lease that calls for the Mitsubishi subsidiary to pay the port an estimated minimum of $3.7 million a year, based on projected LNG volumes.
The source of LNG that will be processed at the facility has reportedly not been determined.
Several liquification plants including a number of upcoming projects around Pacific Rim are being considered as potential sources, according to a spokesman for SES.
back, or read the latest Front Page stories:
US Seeks Stronger Ties With Brazil
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/13/06 – Rebounding from the failure to craft a Free Trade Area of the Americas pact, the Bush Administration is aiming at strengthening trade ties with Brazil in an effort to counter China’s fast-growing economic influence in Latin America; China should not only be seen as an export market with 1.3 billion consumers, but also as a nation of 1.3 billion ''new competitors,'' says US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Guittierez.
US Threatens WTO Action Against China
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/10/06 – The White House is threatening to slap China with a World Trade Organization case unless Beijing responds quickly to US concerns over its lack of action on securing intellectual property rights for US products; talks on bringing the WTO case are at a ''very advanced stage,'' according to a high level official in the Office of the US trade Representative.
High Hopes for Central American Trade Pact
WASHINGTON, DC – 06/08/06 – The US -Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) still faces some hurdles, but could become a reality ''very soon,'' according to Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick; the issues relating to government procurement, intellectual property rights and agriculture still need to be worked through, says the former US Trade Representative following a session of the Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.